Thanks again to all the locals on this forum who enhanced the pleasure of our trip immensely because you so generously share your info.
You have a beautiful island home and I envy you very much. There have been many changes since our last visit, but it is still a very awe inspiring destination. I'm sorry we stayed away so long and I'm already thinking about another trip.
And I also thank the frequent visitors who have their own input about this island paradise.
We stayed at the HHV, very beautiful and I'm glad we stayed there, but next time we won't stay as long and we will be looking for a time share or condo. I really liked that end of the beach, though especially considering the beach project on the other end. I took some Honolulu Cookies back to my fellow workers--they were a big hit.
All the food we had was great: We ate at the Chart House, Fat Greek, Fatty's Chinese, Kahuku Shrimp Truck, The Cheesecake Factory (tried 4 times to get in--go early), Eggs and Things (delicious but next time I won't order all the extras), McDonald's, Wailana Coffee House (we ate breakfast there a bunch of times), The Chart House, the snack bar at the Hale Koa Hotel, the snack bar at Queen's Beach, a shrimp place at the International Market--also got Dole Whips at the food court--yummy!
Sorry--we don't drink so I have no comments in that regard.
There were other places, but I don't recall the names. We did go to Foodland once and the Food Pantry a couple of times. Prices are really not that much worse than what I pay in N Nevada and both have deli and hot foods for a quick meal.
Drove around the island on three different days. It was good to get out of Waikiki to see other aspects of the island. My favorite beach was Kaiona, stopped by there twice (after passing it by twice). It is a lovely neighborhood beach that is very well taken care of. I imagine it is filled with locals on the weekend and there is limited parking. My only regret is that we didn't have our snorkel stuff with us either time. I encountered a local family there and the Mom said that this was her personal favorite beach of any on Oahu. It was truly beautiful.
We did the Submarine, well worth the money. There were so many more fish than when we did it long time ago. We also took an afternoon catamaran ride, very relaxing. Never did a snorkel tour, but I think I'll do one out of Ko Olina next time.
Snorkeling: Haunama Bay-not as good as we remembered considering the fact that you have to get up so early and lay out cash even if it is reasonable. I can understand the over use of the past and why things had to change, but we were disappointed.
De Russy Beach: We spent the most time snorkeling here. We actually saw a lot, but you just had to move slowly because the fish were very wary. I saw extremely large sea cucumbers and the biggest Humuhumu I've ever seen. And to my surprise, there was an extremely large Cauliflower Coral-it had to be 4 feet across. There was also a dead coral head that housed many small fish and a large slate pencil urchin. There was enough to look at for the 4 days that we were just being lazy.
Queen's Beach, MLCD: we saw more fish here than at Haunama Bay and it was free except for the money we had to put in the parking meter. Next time I'll come here more than once. The only downside was that there were quite a few people here to avoid running into. Oh and knowing how far away to stay from the groin when the fish were being fed. It really looked like a feeding frenzy at times. But I think that's why there are so many fish there so I have mixed feelings about feeding them.
The best/worst for last-Shark's Cove: We were lucky enough to be there on a day when it was like glass. Unfortunately for me I lost track of what I was doing, had rental fins, overestimated my abilities and I almost drowned. Thankfully there were 2 groups of people that were there to help me back to shore. If you happen to be reading this, Thank You Again so much! It was a very valuable lesson to me to stay within my safety zone. The ocean is so beautiful, so alluring and so potentially dangerous.
The worst part is that I went out too far to see the Honu and never did see any when I was way out there. But when I was clinging to a rock for dear life, 3 of them came out to see what was going on. I was too scared/tired to look at them and my husband didn't have a camera!! But without doubt, we saw the most fish there--so incredibly fantastic and probably why I got lost in the experience.
So other than almost killing myself, we had a great time! Didn't do everything I planned, but that's why I have to go back.
Thanks again and I'll read this forum when I get the urge to live vicariously through the locals and lucky vacationers. The only bad thing is that flight back to San Fran.